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Twine and community

03 March 2020 — No Time To Play

This started out short only to grow and grow. Over on the Intfiction.org forum, Chris Klimas is asking for feedback on the Twine wiki. I never had an account, because reasons, but this matter is so important I promptly launched into a Twitter thread, contrary to my habit. Let me expand on it here where my followers won't be flooded.

For one thing, the last edit to the Twine wiki is spam. It's been sitting there since the end of November. That doesn't inspire confidence.

Second, a wiki is a community, not a piece of software. Without the community, what you have is a quirky, overly technical CMS. And frankly, when it comes to community Twine has long-standing problems.

No, seriously. The official Twine website used to have a forum, remember? It was closed down and replaced with a Q&A service... that was also closed down not long after. Sure, I get it. Chris Klimas would rather work on Twine than manage a community, which is a time-consuming and stressful task. (It can also be highly rewarding.) But who else to do this? Dear programmers, code is just an enabler. What we really are is public servants.

That's not all however. Another reason why a Twine community can't seem to endure on the web is due to prominent contributors who are abrasive at best if not outright toxic. And people would rather use crappy software with kind, helpful maintainers. It works out a lot better overall. Remember how Quest was saved?

(Now, maybe the Twine server on Discord is better. I'm afraid to try.)

It will take work to turn that ship around, and half-hearted efforts doomed to be soon abandoned aren't going to cut it. At this point, I'd recommend merging the Twine wiki into the IFWiki, and maybe looking into setting up a Twine community on Itch. There's precedent. But y'all must learn to respect people. And in recent years, the project as a whole has been giving out lots of bad vibes.

Twine is less a tool than an ideal. And now the ideal is trademarked.

Tags: interactive-fiction, community

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